Getting the Best Picture on TVs and Monitors (14-2)

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With my cable TV problems and all the computers and monitors I have been playing around with I have been trying to figure out how to get the best pictures.

High definition (HD) is confusing, as are aspect ratios, screen resolution, native resolution, VGA, HDMI, 1080/720p, letterboxing, pixels, composite video, different cables and conversions, and all the other terms and definitions that go along with it.  Basically, I have learned that it can be, or is–I don’t even know the answer to that–all interrelated.  For instance, pixels isn’t an exact thing:  it is a “dot.”  Resolution has to do with number of rows–720p is 720 rows.  Neither of these things relates directly to absolute size or inches.

My takeaway is there are different options, do what looks good to you, and don’t trust a lot of what you read.  Last first…  It is a cliche’ that there is a lot of bad information on the web, plus, these concepts are hard to explain, especially for the neophyte and those who only think they are knowledgeable.  Computers do put out good video, even older ones and those not great for gaming.  VGA can produce a good/great picture.  Digital/HDMI doesn’t always mean the best picture, especially given the alternatives that may or may not be easily available for different set-ups.  For instance, composite video is often/usually impossible to tell from HDMI.  Here’s another little ditty I read somewhere:  720p is hard/impossible to tell from 1080p on smaller screens (e.g., 32″ and less).  Also, many “720p” screens actually have resolutions slightly higher.

I think we are too swayed by things or people telling us digital and HDMI are always better.  There are many factors that go into this.  And I haven’t even mentioned audio!  I, for one, feel as though I have considered a picture to be inferior because I felt there was something better out there.  It is soothing to learn that the options mentions mentioned here can be just as good or even better.

And, of course most of the content viewed isn’t really HD anyway.  But this gets back to the complication…  Given all the factors involved even non-HD content will and does look better on the best available (that’s the key word) set-up.